Neil Cowie appointed CEO of NZ's leading solar power company
Neil Cowie appointed CEO of New Zealand’s leading solar power company
Auckland, 14 November 2019 – Today solarcity, New Zealand’s leading solar power company, announced that Neil Cowie, former CEO of Mitre 10, has joined the business as Chief Executive Officer.
Cowie assumes the role from Andrew Booth, solarcity’s founder who has led the business since its inception, from a start-up based in Nelson to a successful enterprise with over 3,500 solar customers. Booth will remain an integral part of the business, taking on the role of Executive Director to focus on the development of solarcity’s key partnerships and wider industry engagement.
Cowie, as the newly appointed CEO of solarcity, will focus on building on the company’s exponential growth. In 2016, to make solar more accessible for Kiwi homeowners, the business launched solarZero, New Zealand’s first solar energy subscription model, and in 2018 added the solarZero smart battery as part of the service. solarcity has installed more than 3,500 solarZero systems on Kiwi homes, collectively producing around 12,600MWh (megawatt hours) of clean solar energy and preventing 1,550 tonnes of carbon emissions from reaching the atmosphere (equivalent to planting 14,375 trees to offset the carbon emissions) per year.
“I’m excited to be part of solarcity as it embarks on its next growth phase - it’s a dynamic and successful company built on purpose and innovation. What attracted me to the role was their focus on New Zealand’s desire to protect the environment we all enjoy, by designing a unique solution that delivers solar power and battery storage as a service. In the past the upfront costs of solar energy made it too expensive for some, but they’ve turned this on its head and made it a real option for everyone. It’s an honourable goal and I’m looking forward to helping more New Zealanders take advantage of this unique service.”
Philippa Weston, Chairperson of solarcity’s Board of Directors comments, “This change in leadership will strengthen our senior management capability and equip our business for its next phase of growth. We welcome Neil to the Executive team and look forward to working with him.
The Board sincerely appreciates the commitment and passion that Andrew has brought to successfully build the business from start-up to one of the fastest growing green companies in New Zealand. He will continue to contribute to the vision and values of solarcity as we move on our promise to make solar energy a real option for all Kiwi homeowners and small businesses.”
Neil Cowie Biography
Neil Cowie is a highly experienced Chief Executive Officer with a strong growth mindset, and a proven track record of building and developing diverse, collaborative teams and strong business culture. Cowie has led the success of some of New Zealand’s most iconic brands, previously spending the past six years as CEO of Mitre 10 , NZ’s biggest hardware chain, achieving a 50 percent increase in annual sales for the company, represented by more than $600 million of growth during his tenure. Cowie brings a real passion for people and customers, achieved by establishing strong and genuine relationships with business partners, and developing a positive team culture with staff. Starting from the top, he builds strong leadership teams to deliver on the company’s vision. Prior to Mitre 10, Neil held CEO and executive positions with the Warehouse Group, Pumpkin Patch, Australian retailers Big W and Michel's Patisserie. He is also a current board member of Cooperative Business NZ, and in 2017 he was awarded Co-operative Leader of the Year.
solarcity is the nation’s leading solar energy services company. Over the past 35+ years it has put more solar systems on Kiwi homes and businesses than any other company. It was the first solar company in the world to achieve carboNZero certification and is still the only solar energy services business in NZ with that green credential. Independently audited and respected worldwide, carboNZero is a significant endorsement of solarcity’s commitment to sustainability and the environment. Additionally, solarcity is one of the fastest growing green companies in New Zealand and is one of the Government’s Focus 500 companies that are targeted to contribute significant benefits to the New Zealand economy. solarcity is backed by Sir Stephen Tindall’s K1W1 investment fund and the nation’s oldest private equity fund, Pencarrow. Of recent note, they now use an award winning financing mechanism developed by solarcity and Westpac to lock in a fixed, low cost, inflation free price for solar power across 20 years, which removes any and all technology risk.
solarZero is a smart solar energy service which allows homeowners to power their homes by streaming the sun’s energy and converting to usable electricity - at a price which can be up to 30% cheaper than buying electricity from the grid. This unique solar energy service requires no upfront costs, users only pay for their energy consumption. The hardware of the system remains the property of solarcity, who manage the installation, maintenance and servicing (while the homeowner enjoys the benefits without the investment). The solarZero system comprises of solar panels and a smart Panasonic storage battery - allowing stored power to be accessed even when the sun isn’t shining.